Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Golden Ride and the Three Great Things

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Oak leaves mottled with copper and bronze
No sound but that of the wind in the corn
Fiery maple burning in black water

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Today was a golden day. After a week of dampness and rain, the weather cleared to cold nights and bright days. (It got down to 32º last night, or 0º in Celsius - doesn't it sound even freezier that way?)  The sun was warm, the shade was cool, and the thermometer said 64º when I set out this afternoon.

Portrait of a cyclist with small head, big hips. Gosh, I hope the camera lies sometimes.

These seed pods are all over the place right now. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the plant. It's been bugging me all afternoon.

Look at the golden maples against that deep blue sky.

I stop to take a picture of oak leaves, and find that I've captured some nut-brown acorns as well:

Most of the oaks are still green, but a few have started to turn. They must have been touched by frost.

Detail of a weathered old fence. I like the clinched nails.

Here's a beautiful little spot with weeping willows and a meandering stream...

And a few hundred yards further on, at my favourite bend in the road, the landscape looks completely different.

The corn is completely dried...

...but the alfalfa is still bright green.

This sumac was glowing scarlet in the sun...

...which was filtering through the birches above and behind it. A magical spot.

Here are more of those seed pods - one still closed and one burst open to reveal the fluffy seeds...

...which have a rather ghostly look. They put me in mind of some exotic sea creature.

The march of progress?

Looking the other way, into the sun, the glass weights on the high-tension lines were glowing a bright turquoise blue, like beads on a wire.

One of the things I love about early autumn: the strong colour contrasts. Scarlet leaves and fresh green vines with a grassy field and golden corn behind.

Get ready to gear up!

A few miles down the road, I pass a tumbledown old shed. Only the grapevines use it now.

The soybeans are all dried up too - you'd never know that just a few weeks ago they were still lush and green.

I stop to take a picture of a maple tree over water, and find a little bit of summer there as well: a few Queen Anne's Lace and red clover have somehow escaped the frost and are still blooming.

An homage to Anne over at Andamento. (I would never have come up with this angle myself.)

Here's the picture I stopped to take when the flowers distracted me. Just look at that twice-burning maple tree - glowing in the air and glowing in the water.

Nothing could top that. Time to put the camera away and finish the last six or seven miles. The wind is growing cooler and there's a lamb roast in the oven at home.

A beautiful ride, made more so by the awareness that the cycling year is drawing to a close.

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  1. Such a beautiful post Sue. Your area is truly beautiful but I can't believe that you have already had a frost! I hope you find out what the unidentified plant is - it is intriguing.

  2. Around here the seedpods would be called "milkweed" - flower nectar and leaves are an important food source for butterflies.

    How lovely to have a non-rainy day, I've forgotten what that would be like.


  3. That's it! Thanks, Cecelia. (I kept thinking "milk vetch" but when I looked it up it was of course the wrong plant. Silly me.) The blossoms are beautiful too - I have a picture of those in an earlier post.

  4. Ahh, almost all the pleasure of the bike ride without the effort! I am kidding, of course!

    That maple is glorious and I adore acorns; a throwback from my childhood living beside a wood, I think.

    Thank you for sharing. We had an intensely beautiful day yesterday in a sixteenth-century kitchen garden. The autumn light come late afternoon was almost too much to bear.

  5. I'm really loving these pictures. I can never get enough of autumn.

    Your last photo is absolutely the best. Should be a poster with a motivational haiku... :)

    You've brought back some fun memories, too. While I was riding the MS-150 earlier this year, a breeze sent thousands of cottonwood (???) seeds flying, and backlit, they looked like the pure spirits of Eywa in Avatar. I've been unsuccessfully trying to capture that on camera ever since, and your milk vetch looks perfect for the part!

    The glass in the poles reminded me of the insulators my grandmother used to collect (along with regular glass bottles) and put outside in the sun to turn deep, gorgeous blue.

    I haven't thought about those in years! Thank you for the memory!

  6. I love the last photo too, the reflection is perfect. I also enjoyed your umbellifers! You could try holding the camera right next to the stem about 4" or so below the flower head for even more fun photos. Aren't digital cameras great!


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